ExtraHyperActive: Climbing
Showing posts with label Climbing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climbing. Show all posts

Rock Climbing At Seattle REI

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They say that you become a true Washingtonian after the first time you step into REI. The Seattle's flagship store is probably the same symbol of Washington ( outdoors ) as Seattle's Space Needle or Mt Rainier.

What began as a group of 23 mountain climbing buddies is now the nation's largest consumer cooperative.

Everything you need for your most popular outdoor activities- gear for camping, hiking, climbing, cycling, paddling, snow sports, clothing, footwear, and much more- you can find here.

Bucket List Idea : Try Bouldering

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If you've ever wanted to try rock climbing, I'd recommend to start with  bouldering. Bouldering is an excellent way to introduce beginners to rock climbing. It requires minimal equipment, it’s safe and there isn’t the distraction of ropework or fear of heights.

Bouldering is climbing without a rope on boulders, cliffs or indoor climbing walls where a fall is unlikely to result in injury.

The definition of bouldering is broad, as bouldering can mean different things to different people. It can be about pushing limits and climbing hard, getting outdoors with friends and having fun, discovering new problems or training for route climbing.

Teach Yourself A New Skill

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"The amount of money that comes to you is dependent on the value you add to yourself."
I'm not sure if Jyoti Raju heard this expression or not, but that's exactly what this guy did. A man who taught himself rock climbing and acrobatics to escape poverty in India to become so accomplished he's been given the title "The Monkey King."

He started climbing 4 years ago when he hit rock bottom. Unable to make ends meet he considered throwing himself off a cliff. Instead, he climbed it.

How To Get Your Kid Into Rock Climbing

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Sometimes it's tough to get kids into outdoor activities. Some of them are not age appropriate, while others require skills, patience, and a long learning curve.

That's why rock climbing might be a great fit for kids, especially young ones 5-8 year old. Kids like to climb in general, and indoor rock climbing is a structured and disciplined way to teach them how to move and control their entire body: it's a very brainy versus brawny sport,

Kids tend to be natural climbers. They have a high strength-to-weight ratio — which means they have less body weight to haul up the wall than adults do — and their bodies are more flexible. They’re also not fearful ( but if they are, that’s normal, too ), and they have fewer personal limits than adults do. Adults tend to think they know what their body can and can’t do. Kids are less likely to limit themselves this way.

Kids acquire all kinds of positive skills. Problem solving is a  key component of climbing. Because climbing requires a combination of creative thinking and physical output, less athletic kids often shine, surprising even themselves. Kids also learn problem solving. Climbing is a puzzle to unlock, sometimes requiring the ability to back off, look at the route anew, and start again.

Rock Climbing, Camping, Water Sports, And Sightseeing At Vantage, WA

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Vantage is a small community in the Columbia River Gorge in the eastern portion of the Washington state. Though, the area is famous for its 25,000 seat concert venue and the annual Sasquatch Music Festival ( The Gorge Amphitheater is just minutes away from the climbing spot ), it's also one of the most popular rock climbing and outdoor destinations in the state of Washington.

The area referred to by its proper name, Frenchman Coulee is better known as Vantage among local climbing community ( due to its proximity to the town of the same name ).

This was my first time climbing and visiting the area, and I was absolutely blown away by its beauty and unusual ( for me ) hot weather !

Since it's not a climbing blog, I won't bore you with the description of climbing routes and levels of difficulty. I'll just say that even if you are a beginner climber, you'll find a route in your 5.6- 5.10 range. If it's your first time, there will be a lot of climbers who will be more than happy to show you where to start, and many guidebooks ( like Rock Climbing Washington) have detailed information about the area, driving directions, descriptions, ratings, route photos, topos, and recommended gear.

Visit Garden Of The Gods In Colorado Springs,CO

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Southwest is a beautiful place for an adventure traveler to explore ! It is one of the most geographically diverse regions in the United States that contains more than its fair share of natural wonders: Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, and Monument Valley are just a few of the most famous natural attractions that draw people from all over the world.

But if you travel around Southwest for long enough, you'll see a lot of similarities : same red rocks, adobe structures, bluffs and mesas, deserts, and flatlands.

At least that's what I saw during my visit to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs.

Tips On Climbing Mt Adams

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Mount Adams, situated in the eastern Cascade range, east of Mount St Helens and north of Mount Hood, is the second most massive and the third tallest volcano in the Cascade range. Popular among hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general, Mt Adams is accessible year round, and visited by folks from both states - Washington and Oregon.


During summer, Mt Adams becomes a huge attraction to many "wannabe" mountaineers and ski bums. There are several climbing routes on the mountain, ranging from the "non-technical" South Climb, to highly technical routes that require advance skill, experience, and special equipment.

Because  the South Spur Route (aka South Climb, South Side, or South Rib), which initially follows the South Climb Trail #183 is crevasse-free, it provides one of the easier climbing routes and nicest ski runs on any of the northern Cascade volcanoes.

Recently, I spent 3 gorgeous days exploring the mountain, and below I'd like to share a few tips that I couldn't find answers for when I was researching my trip :


-  Driving


12 mile dirt road to the trailhead is a killer. Though I managed to get there in my Geo Metro, I highly recommend to drive something more "outdoorsy" ( like Subaru or Jeep ). On the way up, the road gets pretty narrow and sketchy. Exposed slopes make it hard and dangerous for two vehicles to pass by.

- Summer Crowds

As mentioned above, Mt Adams is very popular among hikers/climbers/skiers. During the weekend I was there, a ranger told me there were close to 300 people at the trailhead. Though when I made it to the trailhead, I could easily find a spot right by the trail.
Which brings me to another tip - don't waste your time talking to the rangers at the station in Trout Lake. Instead, talk to people who just came down from the mountain. They will be able to provide the most updated information.

- Camping At The Trailhead

Just like at Mt St Helens, you can camp right by the trail. If it does get overcrowded, you can always find space/parking/camping at the bottom of the dirt road or at Morrison Creek trailhead.

- Navigation/Trail Finding


I don't provide the description of the trail ( cause you can easily find it online ), but can definitely say its easy to follow the trail all the way to the top. So you don't have to have any special navigation/backcountry skills to climb Mt Adams....

...BUT

- Be Prepared

Weather on Mt Adams can change rapidly. Sudden snowstorms can occur above 6,000 feet elevation at any month of the year. Climbers should always prepare for bad weather and an extended stay on the mountain. I was blessed with two gorgeous sunny days on the mountain, when on the morning of my departure I woke up in pouring rain and complete whiteout.


- Stay Hydrated

Though I was told about a creek at Lunch Counter, I couldn't find one. I was glad I had my trusted JetBoil, and the old school "snow melting" was a breeze. If you would have to melt snow for a bigger group, you'd probably need a water filter as well.

- Gear

Crampons Or Micro-Spikes ? Ice axe Or Ski poles ? Rope ?

It was my second time trying out my basic ski mountaineering/ randonee gear ( skis with special bindings and skins ). I was concerned about the steep slopes, and wasn't sure I'd be able to skin up all the way to the top.
I ended up walking the majority of the route in my ski boots. But in reality, while crampons are highly recommended, you can use micro-spikes or a nice pair of hiking/mountaineering boots with aggressive treads.
You will need ice axe if you're planning chute glissading.
A rope can be very handy for a big group in case of a whiteout.

- To Ski Or Not To Ski


I was told Mt Adams was a great place for skiing in the summer. Honestly, it wasn't exactly what I experienced.
Late in the season ( I did it in late July ), a huge part of the mountain is snow free. And the portion from Lunch Counter to false summit ( (Piker's Peak) holds a consistent 25-30 degree pitch for over 2500 vertical ft. Which makes "skinning up" hard to impossible. So a big portion of the climb I did in my ski boots.

All in all, it was a great adventure ! Climbing/skiing Mt Adams has been on my Bucket List for a few years now. This post is another proof that goal setting is the way to make your dreams come true !

Testing Ahnu Hiking/Backpacking Boots On Mt Si

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Mount Si, the monolith looming over Interstate 90 at North Bend, is Northwest icon, Washington state's most popular hiking trail, and the proven training ground for anybody getting ready to summit Mt Rainier.


But whether you dream of summiting Rainier, skiing Mt Adams, trad climbing Mt Shuksan, or hiking/backpacking the Wonderland Trail, Mt Si is the place to test yourself and your gear.

As I mentioned in my previous post, choosing a pair of good hiking boots can be the difference between a memorable experience and a miserable misadventure.

Recently, on a typical PNW winter day, I put my pair of Ahnu's Coburn hiking boots to a grueling test through dirt, mud, puddles and snow of Mt Si's 4-mile hike with about 3500 ft elevation gain.


Having summited both Rainier and Shuksan, and thru-hiked the 18 miles  Enchantments Traverse (aka the Death March), I knew exactly what I was looking for in hiking/backpacking boots.

Without getting too technical, I'll just focus on a few specs that were especially important to me :

Whether you are a hard core thru-hiker or a casual weekend warrior ( like me ), the Ahnu's Coburn hiking boots are light, breathable, waterproof, and will work great in all weather conditions and on any terrain.

My feet get easily cold. Keeping them dry and warm ( but not overheated ) is extremely important to me. After hiking for 3 hours in mud, puddles, and snow, at the end, my feet remained warm and (relatively) dry.

Leather boots tend to be on a heavy side. Same goes for synthetic ones once they get wet, adding weight and slowing you down. And we all know that a pound on the feet is like eight on your back. Even on the way back, the Coburn boots were as light as at the beginning of the hike.

Whether you are going on a leisure hike on a relatively flat trail, or  scrambling over piles of rock, the taller ankle height is a welcome feature for hikers who are looking for greater ankle support without having to upgrade to much bigger, stiffer, heavier boots.

Non-marking, slip resistant lugs provide the ultimate grip and traction. I was especially blown away by this feature ! In winter, the upper part of Mt Si's trail is (almost always) covered with snow requiring hikers to use either spikes or snowshoes. The boots' aggressive tread was amazing at gripping both wet rocks and snow. One of my knees is messed up, and I'm always concerned about slipping/sliding on the way down, even with extra effort (on my part) it was hard for me to make these boots slide.



All in all, the boots answered all the questions asked  when it comes to choosing a great pair of hiking/backpacking boots.

Now, the last question left unanswered - " How long will they last ? "



Hiking, Backpacking, Camping Desolation Peak

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Have you been to the North Cascade National Park ?

Less than 3 hours from Seattle and about 6.2 miles (10.0 km) south of the Canadian border, the North Cascade NP is the largest of the three National Park Service units that comprise the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.

The park is most popular with backpackers and mountain climbers. One of the most popular destinations in the park is Cascade Pass, which was used as a travel route by Native Americans.

The North and South Picket Ranges, Mount Triumph, as well as Eldorado Peak and the surrounding mountains, are popular with climbers due to glaciation and technical rock. Mount Shuksan, in the northwest corner of the park, is one of the most photographed mountains in the country and the second highest peak in the park 9,127 ft or 2,782 m.

Another popular attraction in the  the North Cascade Mountains is Desolation Peak.


Desolation Peak Trail, is a steep hike to high meadows, great views and the iconic fire lookout where Jack Kerouac spent 63 days during the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak. He wrote about his experiences in the books Lonesome Traveler, The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels.

I read somewhere that in summer time you can still rent the fire lookout and a spend a couple nights "in solitude".

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Best Climbing Video Ever ! 22 ...months old climber !

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There is a talent in every kid. If you encourage them to think creatively, and let them have at it, you will help them unleash their hidden talents.

Many parents do not feel they have the abilities or tools to raise happy, healthy, and successful children. In their minds, children are either born with or without special talents. They give up on their children before they even begin.

Recognizing the traits of a superstar will help parents to lead their children on a path to success and leadership. Children are not born superstars; they are molded and trained to become special.

Below is an example of ( in my opinion ) great parenting. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your child's world is conducive to exploration. When parents constantly say "Don't do that" or "Stay away from this," children learn to be timid and fearful of the unknown. Kids love to explore; it's an essential part of how they learn. Children who get lots of positive feedback from their parents as they explore new things will go on to grab life by the horns.

I'm sure this kid will !

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Mom goes rock climbing...with 2 year old on her back

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A mother with a love of adrenaline sports has defended her decision to go rock climbing – with her toddler daughter strapped to her back without a helmet.

 Menna Pritchard, 26 – who states brazenly that ‘life is about taking risks’ – scales sheer rock faces while carrying two-year-old Ffion. The full-time student – studying for a degree in outdoor education – said yesterday: ‘Some people would say I’m taking more risks than are necessary, but I am very conscious of safety and I would never do anything with Ffion that I thought would put her in danger.’ Read more here...

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What Is Bouldering ?

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Bouldering is defined as: One of the purest forms of climbing, with no ropes or other protection and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas.

At fist glance, bouldering doesn't look like "real" climbing. The fact of the matter is that bouldering is a great way to advance one’s climbing ability without concern for equipment, climbing partners or even specific routes. A climber can, through bouldering, work on developing strength, technique, endurance, and memory.

Bouldering is a very social sport. A lot of bouldering is just hanging around a rock "solving problems". Boulder routes are most commonly referred to as "problems," because the nature of the climb is often short, curious, and much like problem solving.

One of the major appeals of bouldering is its relatively scant equipment requirements. You don't need ropes or any technical gear; all you need is a crash pad, some rock shoes, a chalk bag and a friend to spot you.

Though bouldering is considered to be very beginner friendly, it heavily relies on proper climbing techniques. Even though people may think bouldering to be tough, it's not, if you use the proper bouldering tips and techniques.





Central Washington is jamed-packed with quality granite boulders. Central Washington Bouldering: Leavenworth and Gold Bar guide book offers detailed description of more than 500 problems in Leavenworth and roughly 150 in Gold Bar. Specific beta,detailed maps,and dozens of rich images will get you psyched.

Climbing While Pregnant...Recommended...Encouraged

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Just like smoking, doing drugs and drinking alcohol, rock climbing doesn't really have any negative effects on your fetus...no judgement here

Two weeks, two mountains: Climbing Mt Stuart and Mt Shuksan

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It's been almost a year since I stepped on a mountain. Since my failed attempt to climb Mt Rainier, I added another goal to my Bucket List:

- take a mountaineering class (and climb major Washington peaks )

This year has been pretty great so far. I've had lots of adventures, but, unfortunately, not enough time. That's why when I got a chance I jumped on a great opportunity to climb two major Washington peaks just a few days apart : Mt Stuart and Mt Shuksan.

Last year I did a fun little hike to Ingalls Lake passing Mt Stuart on the way. While admiring the mountain I didn't think that a year later I'd get to stand on top of it...

Mount Stuart is the second-highest non-volcanic summit in the Cascade Range, and the highest peak in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mount Stuart's upper North Ridge is listed as one of the Fifty Classic Climbs in North America and offers intermediate rock climbers a moderate route to the summit.

For me, Mt Stuart was "a strenuous hike", and a great test of my physical fitness. While most of the route is a class 5.5-5.6 scramble, the final 45% vertical snow wall was a bit intimidating...



If Mt Stuart was a training ground to brush up on my ice axe and crampon skills, Mt Shuksan made me pray for my life...




The final 600 feet to the summit involve what it's called " multi-pitch traditional climbing " ( meaning climbing more than one rope length, placing all gear required ), something that I had to learn "on the spot".

Gym or even crag climbing is fun, "easy and safe" ( relatively ), climbing with a 20 lbs backpack wearing your hiking boots is hell !

Know how to repel ( and being confident that you can do it with your backpack on while looking 9000 ft down ) is essential...as it's the only way down.

Though the mountain is imposing, beginner and intermediate climbers often climb this mountain.

Several mountaineering companies lead guided climbs on both Shuksan and Stuart charging $600-1000 for 2-3 days of climbing. So, not only did I climb two out of 18 Major Northwest Peaks, I saved about $ 1500 !

If you are a DIY type mountaineer, check out Climbing Washington's Mountains the book that provides the information needed to climb 100 of the state's outstanding summits, including all of state's 9,000-footers and high volcanoes.

Climbing a 500 foot dam

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In this post I wrote about the world's tallest ( 121 feet tall ) free standing wall.

If you think that would be a climbing experience you'll never forget, wait till you hear about this...
The Diga di Luzzone is both a working dam and one of the largest artificial climbing walls in the world. Bolted in the 1990s, this spot in Switzerland is home to one of the two largest man-made climbing routes in the world, a 540-foot, five-pitch monster that curves its way up the side of the Luzzone dam. As climbers go through the pitches, the concave wall changes character, starting off slabby, then straightening out to vertical.

(MatadorNetwork)

The tallest climbing wall in the world.

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The first time I saw a free standing climbing wall was at Super Mall in Auburn. It's about 25' tall, designed mostly for kids, but now and then you'll see some wussy adult trying to get a quick thrill or a teenage boy trying to impress his girlfriend.

US Army uses mobile climbing walls during recruitment, training and promotional events ( somehow , it's not that lame when the army is involved, so I climbed that one during Army Strong Fitness Expo last year ).

But I can't imagine how much fun it can be to climb something like this:

Called “Excalibur”, and standing 121 feet tall with a 36-foot overhang, it's the tallest climbing wall in the world. Though, it looks pretty intimidating, there are routes for climbers of all levels.

The wall is a part of a climbing gym in the Netherlands town of Groningen. I guess not everything "best, biggest, and tallest" made in US.

For better pictures, visit Adventure Journal blog ( it's even more impressive in larger pictures).

Pass a belay test at any climbing gym.

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Just when you finally decided to give "climbing " a try, the summer is gone. Don't worry ! As a matter of fact, starting climbing at a local climbing gym is even easier and safer than outside.

In my previous post " The best way to learn climbing ", I wrote about how you could get started climbing, and one of the first basic skills you would have to learn - belaying.

At every local climbing gym, the first thing you will be asked is to demonstrate your belaying skills. Which basically comes to two skills : how to tie into a top-rope and how to belay effectively.

The video below is the easiest and most comprehensive video/demonstration of how to tie a figure eight knot I've ever seen. If I'd seen this video before , I probably wouldn't had taken the belay class in the first place:

Free outdoor climbing wall at UW

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The University of Washington has an amazing Intramural Activities (IMA) building located north of Husky Stadium. In additional to magnificent views of Lake Washington and the mountains, the IMA offers current UW students and faculty/staff IMA members the opportunity for year round climbing at their climbing facility with 5,800 sq ft. of climbing surfaces.

But you don't have to be a student to take advantage of their free climbing wall located at the southern edge of the parking lot between Husky Stadium and the Montlake Cut, on the University of Washington campus. Made of concrete with light loose gravel. Rumored to be one of the oldest outdoor walls in WA.

According to Climbingwashington.com :

The UW rock is a concrete-and-stone affair built in 1975, and is one of the best artificial bouldering facilities anywhere...It has some of the hardest boulder problems in Washington, although they are mostly contrived...
I haven't had a chance to climb there ( yet ), and I am not sure whether it's mostly bouldering or top rope wall ( sorry my arrogance). But you know me, I will find out !

What I absolutely love about UW is that it's a great multi sport area : the Burke Gilman trail is just across the road, and the Waterfront Activities Center is basically a few feet away from the above mentioned climbing wall.




What do you think about this " action packed " Sat/Sun : bike along the Burke Gilman trail from Gasworks Park to UW, climb on the wall, then rent a canoe/rowboat ( or sailboat ) for a nice paddle around Union Bay ?

My type of woman ?

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God has made women to be loved and has endowed her with many qualities that men seek.

4 qualities that men usually seek in women:

The Movements - men are attracted by the way a woman walks.
The Hair - while this may seem to be an exaggeration the long, soft and silky hair of women plays a long part in attracting men.
The Eyes & Lips- women can convey many things without speaking a word just by their smile and the look of their eyes.
The Body- women, dressed in clothes that enhance her figure are more likely to attract men than those who do not( and without clothes- even more likely:).

Am I missing something ? Did you say being intelligent, logical, punctual,direct ? Perhaps...

But how about having a sense of adventure, being driven, may be even dangerous, daring ? I know I'd love to meet a woman like that. A woman like Steph Davis- a climber, BASE jumper, wingsuit pilot and ...she has those 4 core qualities ( she's hot !):

Steph Davis: So In Control from Prana Living on Vimeo.